Hamlet’s Bookish Poem

To read, or not to read, that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler for the mind to suffer
The shame and adverts of outrageous TV,
Or to take aim at a computer game army,
And by distraction end the boredom? To die, to read -
No more - and by reading we feel
The heartache and the thousand twisty shocks
That books are made of: 'tis an experience
Devoutly to be wished. To read, to sleep:
To sleep, perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub,
For in that post-novel daze what dreams may come
When we have turned the last page
Must give us pause: there's the text
That gives us different perspectives on life.
Battles lost and won, pride and community,
The pangs of unrequited love, the urban fantasy,
The psychological thriller and the horror
That keeps you awake all night
When a sensible person should be quiet
In mind and body? Who would chapters bear,
To laugh and cry by an author's skill,
But that the dread of having nothing to read,
At home or work or school but especially
When travelling, makes us anxious,
And makes us rather bear the worst novels
Than do other activities we'd rather avoid?
Thus books have power over us all:
And thus the things we should be doing
Get cast aside by bookish thoughts
And enterprises such as housework and socialising
With this regard are kept away
Because our lives are quests for fiction.

By William Shakespeare and N S Ford.

If you’re really keen, you can look up Hamlet’s original soliloquy (Act 3 Scene 1). Which version do you prefer?!

6 thoughts on “Hamlet’s Bookish Poem”

    1. Thank you very much! *bows*
      It was fun to write. I just sat down with the book in front of me and altered the soliloquy line by line.

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